FEATURED; talking with our bodies with ONCE I MADE A PERFORMANCE

A live body, and the body’s reactions to materials and clothing, is always central to my design process. Performance is often used as a way of presenting ready fashion outcomes, and garments are often used as choreographic tools or as costumes, but the area where performance is used as a design tool is a little less explored, which is why I am so drawn to it. 

My father’s first profession was as a ballet dancer, and this influence has somehow always been present in how I approach my work. I have a curious sentimentality about his past - the ballet school training, performing at the National Theatre in Warsaw and later teaching in a small dance company in Melbourne. I had dreamed for a while of shooting some of my pieces in the rehearsal halls of his old ballet school. Although the art of ballet is quite far removed from the informal style of movement that characterises my design process sessions, something about this contrast felt appropriate. Perhaps it is also about paying homage to the historical and personal significance of that space.   

I learnt machine knitting before hand-knitting. I don’t know why I was surprised, when only after learning hand-knitting, did I really start to understand how knit structures work. Most of the locals I’ve met since moving to Helsinki had learnt how to knit at least socks at some point during their schooling. Having grown up in Melbourne myself, I was not especially exposed to this craft first-hand, aside from receiving the odd hand-knitted vest from my grandmother as a child.

My work doesn’t try to innovate knitting structures. I am more interested in the combinations that can be made with existing, often rather ordinary, structures, and finding awkward juxtapositions with different garment types. Knit is a great medium because it enables you to sculpt or build a piece from the ground up, seamlessly if desired. I feel very lucky to have found factories and developers across Europe who have been very patient and accomodating in bringing my designs to life.

May 2020, Helsinki
talking through our bodies

Photos by Kasia Gorniak, Kirill Kuletski & Mickael Vis.
Performers: Marysia Rytarowska & Laura Jantunen.